DENVER - Abortion opponents are hoping Colorado voters will once again have the chance to decide when "personhood" begins in November 2010.
They have submitted language to the state for a possible ballot initiative defining the word person as applying "to every human being from the beginning of the biological development of that human being" or at the moment of conception.
A similar plan, Amendment 48, which would have defined personhood at the moment of conception, was defeated by Colorado voters 73 percent to 27 percent last November.
"The question that I know is on most minds here today, 'Why are we doing this again?'" said Keith Mason, who runs Personhood USA, a national group that will support the Colorado initiative. "The basic reason we are doing this again is because we are right. All humans are persons and that's why we're doing this again."
Critics say the measure would preclude women from getting abortions even in cases of rape, incest or to protect the woman's life. Further, they say it would open doctors who distribute certain birth control measures to criminal prosecution.
"This new initiative could have far-reaching consequences on important life decisions that should be left to individuals, their families, their doctors, not be extremists who want to rewrite our Constitution," said Toni Panetta, who works for NARAL Pro Choice Colorado.
Supporters are at the beginning of the election process. If they are successful in getting to the petition distribution stage, they will need to gather the signatures of roughly 70,000 Colorado voters to make the 2010 ballot.
Since 1996, Colorado voters have weighed in on the topic of abortion five separate times. In 1998, voters approved a measure requiring parents be notified if their juvenile daughters wanted to get an abortion. In 2000, voters rejected a mandatory waiting period for an abortion and in 1998, they rejected an outright ban on the procedure.
The proposed language for the Colorado Personhood Constitutional Amendment Initiative reads as follows: "Section 1. Article II of the constitution of the state of Colorado is amended by the addition of a new section to read: Section 32. Person defined. As used in sections 3, 6, and 25 of Article II of the state constitution, the term "person" shall apply to every human being from the beginning of the biological development of that human being."
For more information on Personhood USA, visit http://www.personhoodusa.com/.
For more information on NARAL Pro Choice Colorado, visit http://www.prochoicecolorado.org/
I do work with Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains and we're already getting ready for another Amendment 48-esque battle. Personally, I hope screaming wingnuts get arrested for verbally abusing Governor Ritter again. It does wonders for their insane cause.
You'd think a THREE TO ONE defeat would deter these people, wouldn't you?